Sunday, 30 December 2012

Oshawa Harbour
December 30th, 2012

I was getting itchy to get outside but didn't want to go too far so I went down to the harbour. Bright blue skies and lots of sunshine... a beautiful, crisp winter day.

Bonnie Brae Point

Ring-Billed Gulls. They look very comfortable with the snow, snuggling into it for a nap or to pass the time.


One leg warm, one leg cold.

I caught some nice light on this one.

They almost look like they're enjoying the snow rather than just putting up with it.

You don't get to see their red mouths very often. This one was yawning, not squawking.

This guy had to dig his toes in when a strong wind gust came up.

Wave patterns...

There are 1000s of shells and shell fragments on the beach. I'm curious as to what they are.
Update: John Foster ID'd them as Zebra Mussels.

The gulls pretty well always outnumber them, but there are always some Canada Geese at the lake.

If you have the time and the inclination, nature offers incredible detail for us to examine. These sand 'cliffs', all of 6 inches high, were in one or two spots where the conditions were just right.

These miniature sand ridges (about 1 mm high) mark the edges of waves as they wash up on the beach. Each succeeding wave wipes out earlier ridges and marks its own limits, but only if the sand is the right consistency.

Further along from the 'sand cliffs' the waves were forming miniature sculptures under a ridge, but again only in one or two spots.

It's been so mild up to now that there's no shore ice to speak of... at least none of the huge chunks we're used to seeing some years. 

The harbour pigeon flock.

At this angle they look like so many 'eyes in the sky'.

Lake Ontario has a huge effect on our weather. At about 200 miles long and 50 miles wide at the widest point, it's no wonder. Clouds over the lake change often and quickly. It was nothing but blue skies when I arrived, but an hour later the dark clouds were moving in from the west.

We often have blue skies overhead in town but when you look south, you often see a band of clouds over the lake. This was mid-afternoon, a real contrast to the shot of Bonnie Brae Point above.

As the afternoon wanes, some of the geese head inland to the corn fields. The gulls stick around the lake.

My hands got a bit cold, even with the hand-warmers I use. I just can't operate a camera comfortably with gloves of any sort on. But what a glorious day!

- fini -

Saturday, 15 December 2012

2nd Marsh -- December 14th, 2012

I went down to the marsh yesterday to see if the beavers were active. Lady Luck was with me. I saw the 5 or 6 that I was told about on my last visit. I saw five at one time so there are at least five of them there. Apparently there is typically a male & female and their last two broods in a family group.

The light, the sky and the lake were very different from my last visit. This is Farewell Creek entering Lake Ontario.

Last time I took 'rock shots'. Today it was shells. This looks like a Land Snail shell. When you look at the lake sand closely, it looks more like course salt & pepper with a couple other spices mixed in.

The patterns in the sand look like frozen waves.

Some shells are separate, but others are 'hooked' together. Bleached mussels?

The beavers' lodge is in a bay off the lake. From what I've read, this may or may not be their lodge. It might be food for the winter. Their lodge may be nearby on the shore somewhere. They don't need to build a dam in a bay.

I watched them for about half an hour. All they did was swim around, ducking underwater now & then.

Swimming is so much fun.

This was the only productive thing I saw while I was there. This guy had a small branch in his mouth, trailing off to his side. I lost track of what he did with it though. Maybe it was snack time.

There were a couple sitting on the ice. I was there about the noon hour. This one was having lunch I guess.

Maybe a short nap before another swim.

Some of their branches drifted away and were caught against the ice on the lake. They swam by them but didn't bother rescuing any of them, further indication that their work was done I guess.

Their 'pre-assembly' area, or their lodge?

Well-worn pathways and lots of branches.

As I left the beavers, most were underwater. I was treated to 3 or 4 tail-slaps at the last minute. Most often, tail-slaps are warnings of danger but one reference said they were sometimes just in fun. Maybe they were saying 'Hi'. Or maybe they were saying, "Enough pictures! Take your camera and go home". I did.

Some nice color on my walk back along the berm.

I spotted a Wooly Bear on this visit too. I love their coloring. The mild weather is giving them some extra time to find a cozy spot for winter.

There's the odd Dandelion that still has its brilliant yellow mop-hairdo.

And some that have just recently gone to seed.

As I was leaving the marsh, I spotted this. Soft back-light from the sun gave this grass a smokey look.

The beavers were the first I'd seen in years, and I've never seen so many at once. A real treat. They made it a special day at the marsh.

The Friends of Second Marsh web site... 
A direct link to a map of the paths/trails in the marsh...

A link to a page that has my past posts re the marsh, in one place rather than scattered throughout this blog...

- fini -


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